Personalities

Find out what Asia’s movers and shakers are up to ­– and how they spend their private time 
  1. “I think people come to me with a stereotype – some probably expect me to be gentle, obedient and kind,” Youngbee Dale said.Dale was born in South Korea and immigrated to the United States in 1996, when she was only 16. She is now a US-based human trafficking expert who has worked with vulnerable communities including Asian women subjected to sex trafficking.“Feminism is in my blood … perhaps after talking to me some people realise that Asian women can be vocal,” Dale said.Stereotypes attached…
  2. The arrest of American journalist Philip Jacobson in Indonesia over alleged visa violations has sparked an international outcry over press freedom in the Southeast Asian nation.Jacobson, an editor at non-profit media organisation Mongabay, has reported on environmental and corruption issues in Indonesia since 2011.The 30-year-old could face five years in prison if authorities prosecute him for violating the terms of his visa, an offence for which other foreign reporters have previously been…
  3. He called an archbishop a “moron in a white mu-mu”, and addressed the vice-president as “hey, stupid”. He messaged a reporter, “did you get my f*** you?” And in Berlin last year he refused to take back statements endorsing Hitler and the Holocaust.Foreign secretary Teodoro “Teddy Boy” Locsin Jr, the Philippines’ top diplomat, is not famed for his diplomacy.“Compared to other [foreign secretaries], he’s more aggressive in his tone, in language, maybe in his ideas,” said retired ambassador Lauro…
  4. The owner of a store in the Japanese mountain town of Hakone has been criticised for blocking Chinese people from entering his shop on the grounds they might be carrying the Wuhan coronavirus.“No Chinese are allowed to enter the store”, said a sign attached to the shop’s door. “I do not want to spread the virus.”The owner of the confectionery store, who has not been identified, told the Asahi newspaper that he used a translation application to write the message in Chinese, adding, “I want to…
  5. When Adriano O Mantiel, a 46-year-old maintenance worker in Rizal province near Manila, wiped ash from his mobile phone screen on January 12, 2020, he knew something was wrong. “I thought that it was rain. But when it happened, my allergies immediately reacted,” he recalls. “I began sneezing. My eyes became very red and I had trouble breathing.” He was reacting to the eruption of Taal Volcano 70km south of Manila in Batangas province – its first seismic activity in more than 40 years. Images…
  6. Shafiq Did not know if he would never go home again, after escaping war in Afghanistan for a life in the refugee camps of Peshawar, Pakistan. The United States toppled the Taliban government in 2001, but even then his home country was in the grip of a terrible drought. By 2006, however, Shafiq had found hope enough to return – as a result of Dr Tetsu Nakamura’s efforts to bring water to Afghanistan’s previously dry lands.For nearly 30 years, Nakamura worked and lived in Afghanistan, helping…
  7. Filipinos who have returned home after fleeing oppressive work conditions in the Middle East face an uphill battle to claim a rehabilitation cash grant offered by the government and start a new life to make up for lost foreign currency earnings.Mary Ann Silva, 42, who is among a group of women that recently arrived in Manila after pre-terminating their work contracts, said she asked the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) how she could get the 20,000 pesos (US$392) grant for…
  8. Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen marks 35 years in office today, a landmark that divides opinion in the politically tense Southeast Asian nation. According to his critics, his longevity has been achieved through murder, repression, endemic corruption and dictatorial power – from his still-shrouded actions as a Khmer Rouge deputy commander in the 1970s to the bloody coup he orchestrated to take power in 1997. After dissolving the country’s largest opposition party in 2017, he has turned…
  9. When Singapore’s ISS International School held a community event last month, a concerned Hong Kong family approached the school’s admissions department. They wanted to discuss the growing network of Hong Kong-based parents considering sending their children to study in Singapore.“They wanted to assist their colleagues and friends in Hong Kong to be able to admit their children should they feel … relocating out of Hong Kong to Singapore developed from a conversation into a reality,” said Paul…
  10. A new sport-comedy caper starring a former Japanese wrestling champion and a motley cast of Tamil actors is set to entertain audiences in India.Sumo, directed by S.P. Hosimin, revolves around an unlikely friendship between a surfing teacher and a sumo wrestler who gets washed up on a Chennai shore – a story borne out of the filmmaker’s fascination with sumos and his desire to pen an ode to the growing ties between India and Japan.“Sumo wrestlers are cherubic gentle giants and loved by everyone,…